Former youth product Charlie Duke has returned to Vanarama National League club Torquay United to take up the offer of a pro contract.
Defensive midfielder Duke, 18, started his career at Port Vale before choosing to move on to our now defunct Torquay United Category Three Youth department when he was fifteen years old.
He played a few times for the club at under-16 level, before signing as a first-year scholar. He was due back to start his second year when the Youth department closed.
He returned to his home in St Helens where he has split last season playing first for St Helens Town AFC in the North West Counties League and then Prescot Cables in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division North.
Duke thinks that playing men’s football has benefited him during his time away from Torquay.
“I had to adapt my game playing men’s football. When I was with the youth department the emphasis was on passing, but then with St Helens and Prescot Cables it was more on the physical side of the game. At first I found the switch difficult but then I got used to it and I think I was doing well.
“I’d be having a good game and then the opposition would end up trying to foul me but I wouldn’t let it get to me. Once they realized that, they stopped trying to foul me. It did me the world of good if I’m honest.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson is looking forward to welcoming Charlie back to the club as a professional.
“Charlie unfortunately missed a year of his development as he was too young to stay in the Gulls Lodge last season.
“He has gone away and put a lot of work in and now it’s his chance to come back in and show me what he is all about.
“Will Hancox proved last year that if you put the work in, you will find yourself playing games for me. That is now Charlie’s challenge and I’m sure he will give it everything he’s got”.